There’s a lot that goes into a magic show, whether it’s corporate entertainment or a private event, and it’s not just about the tricks.  Whenever I perform, particularly when performing close up magic, remembering names is critical to my performance.  When I remember someone’s name, they’re flattered, impressed and I stand out from the crowd.  And given how easy it is to remember names, it’s foolish not to take the time to do so.  More importantly, remembering names is easier than you think.  Just follow these 3 steps and you’ll improve your ability to remember names overnight.  Seriously!

1) FORGET THAT YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO REMEMBER NAMES

The first step to remembering names is believing you can.  That may sound silly, but it’s true.  Most people think they have a bad memory, when in truth they just have an untrained memory.  To train your memory, you have to use it, and to use it, you have to trust that it can be improved.  Once you believe you can improve your memory, you’re well on your way.

2) MAKE SURE YOU HEAR THE PERSON’S NAME

In order to remember someone’s name, you have to hear it.  This may seem obvious, but when meeting someone it’s easy to be distracted by what’s happening around you.  So, the first step is to listen.  And not just listen, but make sure you hear what the name is.  Is it “Bill” or “Phil”?  “Emma” or “Emily”?  If you’re not sure, ask!  People are flattered when you show interest in them.

3) USE THE NAME IN YOUR CONVERSATION

Once you’re confident you’ve heard the name correctly, simply use it (sparingly) in the conversation.  Start with “It’s great to meet you, Charlie.”  Then, when you ask them a question, lead with their name.  “So, Charlie, what do you do for a living?”  If it’s an unusual name, ask how it’s spelled.  Not only do you get to repeat the name, you’re showing interest in the person, AND knowing the spelling will make it easy to remember.  I also like to repeat the name to myself a few times, thinking about the name, if I know anyone else with that name, if a famous person comes to mind with that same first name, etc.  Just thinking about a person’s name can help cement it in your mind.

IT’S JUST THAT SIMPLE!

That may not seem like much of a secret, but I promise you, if you believe you can remember someone’s name, actually catch what their name is when you meet them, then just use their name a couple of times while you’re speaking with them, you’ll be shocked by how easy it is to recall their name.  I regularly remember 30 or more names in an evening, just by following these 3 simple steps.

THE NEXT STEP IN IMPROVING YOUR MEMORY

This technique works well in the short term, but tends to fail over the long haul.  It also won’t help when you’re trying to remember words in another language, grocery lists or other abstract ideas.  To do that you need to learn advanced (but still easy!) mnemonic techniques.  The first is association, or taking abstract ideas and making them visually memorable.  A great tutorial for that can be found here.  If you just want to remember your grocery list, the key is the Link Method, and a good tutorial for that can be found here.

Let me know how it goes!